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About city Gallery Where to stay

Even though Tallinn, home to around half a million people, can hardly be called a world-class metropolis, the small distances between its individual districts and streets unburdened by heavy traffic give the capital of Estonia some unique advantages. Furthermore, the Old Town of Tallinn is one of the best-preserved historical centres of the Hanseatic cities. Geographically, the city is situated on Estonia’s northern coast, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. This shoreline is about 50 km long. The promenade, stretching along the sea in the region of the Pirita Bay is a popular place for jogging, walking and cycling.

The city is about 800 years old and, just like any other old city, is a veritable kaleidoscope of different places with divergent histories. The city’s pride, without a doubt, is its medieval Old Town, now a UNESCO-protected world heritage site. Its unique medieval architecture and ancient atmosphere, which most Northern European cities have lost by now, make Tallinn uniquely charming. Here you’ll find an almost perfectly preserved 11th to 15th-century street network, a cobbled streets and a protective wall with circular towers and cone-shaped roofs.

Wonderful winter night aerial scenery of the Old Town in Tallinn
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Wonderful winter night aerial scenery of the Old Town in Tallinn

Tallinn has managed to conserve its most important medieval administrative and sacral buildings, and stone-built residential houses that used to belong to the wealthiest of citizens. The city is also home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy. Just like in old times, many inns here decorate their walls with images of pots and pans, and their chimneys with cat figurines.

As time went by, the old part of Tallinn became highly skilled at hatching up its medieval image. In the morning, you can hear the country’s national anthem being played from the old Pikk Hermann Tower. Girls in old-time clothes sell nuts coated in cinnamon and pepper. A number of craftsmen go to work in Catherine’s Alley, demonstrating the traditions of medieval workshops, where you can buy an assortment of things made from leather, glass, wood, clay and dolomite. Kitchen utensils, made from the fragrant juniper wood, are especially pleasant to the touch. Weavers and knitters offer all sorts of fascinating knitted articles and laces, adorned with national patterns.

Several people in the Estonian national costumes in center of Tallinn
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Several people in the Estonian national costumes in center of Tallinn

In 2013, Tallinn became the first European capital to introduce free public transportation to its people.

Given that the locals of Tallinn like to drink home-made beer, considered to be a drink appropriate almost to the whole family, we recommend you explore the Old Town while sipping this drink in as many different places as you can. Begin with a glass of unfiltered in the Beer House; then try some honey-infused beer in the Oelleklubi pub; and last but not least, enjoy some dark beer in Hell Hunt. Let this little tour of yours be just the beginning of your acquaintance with Estonia’s culinary traditions. Tallinn has many larger and smaller cafés and restaurants that serve national dishes.

Viru Street - is the main street of the Old Town
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Viru Street - is the main street of the Old Town

If you’d like to learn what the Estonians ate during ancient times, you’d do well to visit the Olde Hansa. There you’ll be able to try some old-time pork ham, wild bird and game, and the especially popular blood sausages, oat pap and rhubarb cake.

And in case you get in the mood for a particularly arcane environment, why not visit the small inn, located right inside the Town Hall. Every dish served here only costs €1, drinks are €2 and cucumbers are free. There’s also no electricity, just candles. This interesting catering facility is managed by two students who, whenever they’re in the mood, put on entire shows for their customers.

Where to stay

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